connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, grief, healing, saying goodbye

My sister…

She was a kind and generous soul. She went the extra mile for her friends and family. Her daughter and grandchildren were the loves of her life. She is gone now, quite unexpectedly, despite a long history of health issues. She was my sister. I was in NH visiting when it happened, so I was grateful to be able to be with my niece and her family as this new reality set in. I’m back home now and settling back into my routines isn’t coming easily. It seems I just needed to say a simple goodbye to a sweet soul who asked little and gave much. She is at peace now…

'scene' along the way, a second look, death, finding my way, grief, growing old, history, life goes on, memories, moments, perseverance, photography

Rose Hill…

Not every trip out to take photos is the uplifting sort of trip that warms my heart. Yesterday I went out to explore a cemetery that I’d seen a while back when the GPS had routed me from one destination to another. I was at a traffic light and noticed a cemetery with a big water feature, and it seemed like a spot that would have an east facing view for the sunrise. I made a mental note of it, and while I thought of looking for it again from time to time I never did, until yesterday. It was easy enough to figure out where it was when I looked at Maps, a big green oasis, and I saw the name Rose Hill. The GPS had me pass up my destination and do a u turn to come back to it, and then it said to take a right, even though I saw the pretty lawns and water of a beautiful cemetery to the left. I took the right, and entered a sad little cemetery with lots of sand and weeds and no green lawns or water feature. It was hard to figure out where I could park the car, I was afraid I’d drive over a grave. I got out and walked a bit and took some pictures, but my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like an intruder. While it first seemed like a sad little place, it wasn’t forgotten by any means. Pops of color were everywhere. Graves were being visited, people were being remembered. That I wanted to come to this place for my photo ops felt very wrong. The wind was out of my sails, I headed home.

Yes, I did stop at the neighboring Cycadia Cemetery, but that feeling of being an intruder stayed with me. I took a couple of pictures and left. It just wasn’t the day for it I guess…

a second look, changing times, childhood, connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, healing, home, memories, perseverance, photography

Connections…

An uncle came to stay with me once, I’m not even going to try to think of how long ago that was.  He was an academic all his life, a college guidance department head, which is probably why he phrased it as wanting to see my ‘nest’.  That that thought came to mind seems like a natural progression during this nesting season here in Florida, when birds are on my mind a lot of the time.  And somehow that phrase further brought to mind something my closest friend’s husband said to me once after visiting with them.  While I had always felt the closeness between this friend and myself, communication was not so easy in the days when we both had little kids, businesses to run, and lived 3000 miles apart.  So I invited myself to visit them after many years, and when he drove me to the airport to leave he said that we were ‘two peas in a pod’, and that it was a crying shame that we hadn’t been able to be part of each other’s daily lives all along.  On my way to see them on that visit I had said to myself that knowing myself I ought to be nervous, after all I was going to see people that I honestly didn’t know, but I wasn’t at all worried.  And from that first moment that I stepped back into my friend’s life, and home, I felt completely at ease.  More than that though, I felt like myself.  My true self, the ‘real’ me.  Silly, huh?  Who’s life was I leading all those years, living all over the country and raising my kids with only occasional visits to the place I continued to think of as home?  Those were happy years that I treasure, but there was a little part of me that felt alone.  No, apart.  Disconnected.  But not any more, not since I’ve made connections to the past, connections that are mine alone.  Little children that we once were, and who have lived such different lives, are now knowing and cherishing each other in this last part of life.  How we got here hardly matters, it’s just so wonderful to be here.

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coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, healing, life, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Time…

It was a gloomy morning, which matched my gloomy mood.  Today we were saying goodbye to yet another friend.  Yet again I would see a dear friend taking her first steps down the slippery slope of widowhood.  I’m five years in at this point, and I now know just how long this process is, this adjusting to life on your own.  At first I found myself astounded that a week had passed, then two weeks, and then a month.  Time, it seemed was relentless.  Impossible as it seemed the days kept passing, and it all became a blur.  Something I recently heard on TV struck me, it made me look online for a quote so I could repeat it correctly.

 

Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can spend it, but you can’t keep it.

Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

by Harvey MacKay

A silly poem from a friend warmed my heart and brightened this gloomy day for me.  I hope everyone takes time to let the people they care about know that they are loved.  Don’t waste your time, it’s precious…

connections, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, home, life, life goes on, loneliness, making memories, perseverance, photography

Traveling…

I didn’t drive for 11 days straight.  That has to be a record for me.  For 11 days I was surrounded, literally, by family, and friends close enough to be family.  I was hardly ever alone, and for the last few years I have been telling myself that being alone is just the greatest thing.  No witnesses is what I told myself was the best part, for my own silliness. And for the most part that’s still true.  But it’s so quiet in here now that the coffee pot has finished its morning duties.  The traffic noises haven’t begun.  It’s too quiet.  Turning on the TV might provide noise, if noise is all I wanted to hear.  This has been my home for a year now, but I’ve been traveling for half that time at least.  And now I’m here, surrounded by all my things.  Sentimental reminders of other times, of the people I have cared about my whole life.  But sitting in the dark and quiet I realize that I can’t hear the sound of breathing.  Of life.  That’s the sound that’s missing…

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, connections, coping, death, grief, growing old, loneliness, marriage, memories, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, road trip, sunset

Bob…

His SUV was pulled over at a scenic overlook on Skyline Drive.  The back hatch was open and he was sitting in one of the two chairs he had placed just outside, angled toward the view.  His old=fashioned boom box was playing lovely, soft music, and I thought he was reading, but it turned out he was writing in a journal.  I had also pulled over at the overlook and got out of my car with my camera in my hands.  “You look comfortable,” I said.  “It’s our 50th anniversary,” he said, and I looked  but I didn’t see another person.  “We liked to come here”, he said, and he gestured to the empty chair and said, “She’s right there.”

She had died 7 months before, it was a blessing, he said.  He said that he didn’t want to brag, but his wife was very talented.  She baked and sewed, and she taught him to do those things too.  He said that he has her sewing machine and he is finishing all her projects for her.  They never let the sun set on an argument, he was proud of that.  He said he would always apologize and she would always say that it was okay, and then she would always let it go.  And they had had 10 children, it took him a while to mention that.  He showed me their wedding picture. They were so young.  And I thought of all that still lay ahead of them that day.  He said that he was writing it all down, their whole story, from the day that they met.  He was teary-eyed as he said these things, but he said that he knew that I would understand, and I did.

Skyline Drive was on my agenda from the day I left Florida in the first place.  I wanted to see color, but this color wasn’t the colorful trip that I intended.  I was going to try to be there for the fall scenery and I came close.  And I had just complained about the twists and turns of the roads in PA, and there I was purposely choosing to travel on a 100+ mile road of nothing but twists, and turns, and mountains.  But I was glad I was there today.  It was the perfect day to be there, because it was the day I met Bob…